Signature Style

The Danish-Japanese Connection:  Industrial Designer Hiromichi Konno

By Susan Rogers Chikuba

Hiromichi Konno is an award-winning Tokyo-based designer whose thoughtful, minimalist approach to design perfectly aligns with the Danish sensibility. This is beautifully illustrated in the RIN chair he created for Fritz Hansen and in the range of watches he designed for us at Skagen. 

It’s no surprise that the 42-year-old Konno worked in Europe for a decade before returning to Japan to establish his own design studio in 2008. When we asked about the shared design values between the two cultures, the designer reminisced about his first trip to Denmark. What struck him most? The Danes’ fluency with the language of design, he says. “Taxi drivers talked knowledgeably about architecture. Waiters could tell me who designed which chairs. And I’ll never forget walking into a Copenhagen bank to see rows of Poul Henningsen’s Artichoke lamp—so beautiful. At that time I had only ever seen such quality designs in museums, removed from everyday life. But traditionally in Japan, as in Denmark, people take joy in using well-crafted items for a long time. That pleasure principle is the sweet spot that I keep aiming for.”

To see more of Konno’s work, including the recently designed range of stylish coat stands, floor lamps, tables and magazine racks for the Japanese company Kanaya, visit